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Building Your Personal Brand

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Building Your Personal Brand

The days of the “gold watch retirement” are over. You won’t be at your current company forever.
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In the business world, you’re all you’ve got. Your jobs, bosses and coworkers will come and go. The era of the “job for life” are dead. No one begins at a company fresh out of college and retires from that company with a gold watch 40 years later.

“Everyone has their own brand,” says Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local and author of the 2013 book Likeable Leadership. “You’re born with it, you live with it and you die with it. We all have an opportunity to develop our own following and have our own impact.”

That is why, more and more, individuals have become their own brand. Think about how many people you follow on Twitter. How many are companies? How many are individuals? You are most likely following more people.

Companies are merely vessels for the thoughts of people. When you think a particular company has a witty Twitter feed, that’s because they have particularly witty people writing it.

“The best thing for a company is for employees to invest in their own personal brand,” said Marshall Kirkpatrick, CEO of Little Bird, at his SXSW 2014 workshop. “ It creates authenticity for the brand as you fly the company flag for a couple of years.”

Social media is full of personalities that outshine brands, such as Brian Solis, Malcolm Gladwell and Guy Kawasaki. But the individual as brand has spread into other mediums like media, where superstars like Nate Silver and Bill Simmons become bigger than their outlets.

“Now people follow reporters instead of newspapers,” confirmed Dan Fletcher of Beacon at his 2014 SXSW session. “The race will be to snatch up individuals who have a following.”

Creating the Job You Want

push boundaries
Become the change you want to see at your job by pushing the boundaries of your position.
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Most of my career successes have come from me pushing the boundaries of the position. When I worked at DePaul  University, my initial responsibilities were limited to  posting content that I was given onto the website. However, I felt that the way we were doing things was not optimal. and that I was not giving all I had to my job. So, I made changes.

I started by holding workshops on writing for the web. I created presentations on why we needed email distribution of our content to drive web traffic to solicit buy-in from my managers. I created monthly Google Analytics reports to show what effects my activities were having.

By pushing the boundaries of my job, I was able to create a role I wanted. The result for my employer? A 700% increase in web traffic in less than three years.

In Likeable Leadership, Kerpen notes, “No matter what your job title i, you can get creative, choose to see  your role differently, take on new tasks, and make a huge positive impression on customers, prospects, colleagues and bosses.

Don’t Let Fear Make Your Decisions For You

If you are in a workplace where you will be fired for innovation and for pushing the boundaries, then let them fire you.
If you are in a workplace where you will be fired for innovation and for pushing the boundaries, then let them fire you.

Avoid letting fear make your decisions for you, whether that is fear of making bosses angry or fear of failure. It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission, so start making the changes you want to see first, and then come back with some results.

If you are in a workplace where you will be fired for innovation and for pushing the boundaries, then let them fire you. There are plenty of employers looking for people who are innovative.

“The difference between a leader and a follower is that a leader makes his or her own way,” Kerpen says. “That means putting together things in their own way and not asking permission”

Establishing your personal brand at your job is the first step. Next, you need to craft that brand carefully through networking and social interaction, which I’ll touch on in my next few posts.

I’ll leave you with a quote by Steve Jobs:

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out your inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

What successes have you found by pushing the boundaries of your job? Please share with me in the comments section. I promise to read them and respond!

Special thanks to Dave Kerpen.


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